Jacob Fischler covers federal policy as a senior reporter in the States Newsroom Washington bureau. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues as well as climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.
House passes bipartisan public lands bill; next stop president’s desk
By: Allison Stevens and Jacob Fischler - July 23, 2020
WASHINGTON — Major environmental legislation sailed through Congress Wednesday while the nation’s political leaders were stuck in intense negotiations over the contours of a fifth coronavirus relief package. The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provide permanent funding at $900 million per year […]
Delays in COVID-19 relief funds threaten upgrades to tribal health care
By: Jacob Fischler - July 13, 2020
Part of the federal funding sent to Native American tribes for COVID-19 relief could be used to build long-sought health infrastructure, though conditions placed on the federal aid and delays in its arrival threaten tribes’ ability to capitalize on it. The $2.2 trillion CARES Act Congress passed in March included $8 billion directly for tribes […]
From call center workers to national guard, states recruit contact tracers
By: Jacob Fischler - May 26, 2020
As states seek to loosen wide-ranging restrictions imposed to constrain the novel coronavirus, they’re also looking to deploy a huge new fleet of workers to keep cases under control. Enter the contact tracers. With interpersonal contact certain to increase as states lift COVID-19 restrictions, tracing the who infected people had contact with — and then […]
Can lessons from the Great Recession help states avoid budget disasters?
By: Jacob Fischler - May 11, 2020
As they face massive budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are looking for federal money to help stave off the kind of drastic cuts they enacted during the last economic downturn. State budget officers and economists generally agree that cuts to state spending worsened the Great Recession in the years following 2008. Layoffs, […]
Pandemic fuels state feuds over gun rights
By: Jacob Fischler - April 26, 2020
COVID-19 has ignited the debate over gun rights as states grapple with whether to allow gun sales while other retailers are forced to shutter. Stores selling guns and ammunition remain legally open in 45 states that include sellers and manufacturers as essential services that are exempted from orders shutting down most commercial activity or have […]